just a little record of what i'm eating

Friday, December 30, 2005

was out

thursday i was forced to have breadsticks and french fries at a rest stop on the interstate :p

today had chinese for lunch, and now i am cooking a turkey with stuffing and mashed potatoes. dont ask.

a relative with be here with us for a while, so cooking may or may not be mixed up for a bit.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Im amazed at the varieties of eggplants found at a nearby veg market.
They carry regular american/globe, italian, sicilian, holland, japanese, chinese, indian/small, thai/green, white, spanish-- maybe more,thats all I can recall.

My fav is definitely the sicilian which as I just researched online, I think is also called rosa bianca.
The inside is pristine white, it has very few seeds, and a mild pleasant flavour which is not at all bitter. If you dont like eggplant, give this one a try!

I find it fascinating that there can be so many varieties of each single veg/fruit, more than I will ever see/taste in my lifetime. Even with distinctly different tastes!

Check out this site:


I wanted to finish off my vegetables because Im going out of town tommorrow(and hub can have the leftover for couple days).

So I cooked:

-"Quick version" kohlrabi/knolkhol Sambhar- which means throw everything in pressure cooker and later add tamarind, bring to boil, add poppu/tempering.
-Capsicum fry with besan flour- i dont know if theres an actual name for this
-Baingan bharta, only i was too lazy to put it under the broiler, but i did cook it in my iron pan...
-Cucumber "salad" with lemon juice, coriander, and chaat masala.

total time: 1 hr 6 min

capsicum fry

put olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the capsicum in a single layer. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, sprinkle turmeric powder.(optional- add chopped onion if and fry till half cooked. add chopped green pepper and salt and chili powder. fry till soft. sprinkle with (sifted) besan flour evenly... stir. It should get a thin crisp coating of besan.


Vendaakai sambhar with rice and appalam(like papad but a little different)

I usually make okra in tamarind gravy and thats definitely my favourite way. But Im still looking for something new to do with it. maybe stuffed?

And its not slimey if you cook it properly. I think the trick is in not letting any moisture(water, tomatoes) touch it until it is almost cooked/fried, and I suggest drying them off before chopping also.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

bad influence

hubby is always suggesting we go out to eat (to save me from cooking) and how can my lazy self resist that?

The place we tried to go first wasnt open, but we stopped at the indian grocery to get these
Actually, it was for him because Im not that fond of burfi and he mainly wanted the kaju katli.

Then we went to another Pho joint. Not the same one as last time, but unfortunately, their phood just wasnt that tasty.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Holly Jolly Christmas

We invited a couple friends over. So, of course that means lots of cleaning, preparation, etc. My husband totally irritates me at times like these because I think I do all the work and he thinks he doesnt get credit for helping out... Well, thats a story for another blog ;)

The menu:
Aloo tikki with coriander chutney
chicken biryani
chicken varuval(fry)
mutton kurma (all meat was halal)

Followed by coffee(latte?)made with my fav instant espresso
Served with homemade cookies I baked the night before.....
Ginger cookies

We really liked the ginger snaps! Soo much better than store bought!
I enjoy the anise flavour of the biscotti but overall the ginger ones are better.

Edit: my own notes for future use....
1lb mutton
2lbs chicken- could have used more chicken for fry.
3cups rice(dry) for biryani
enough for 8 people

You oughtta know....

Had a busy day on Sat. Ordered (plain/cheese) pizza for dinner from a new place. I usually like just cheese or black olives and jalepenos, feta cheese if available, and onions, artichokes, green peppers are good too. NO pineapple, but hubby likes it. I also dont like any form of meat on my pizza. Thanks.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Fri- Chili's

We went out in hopes of satisfying my BUFFALO chicken cravings. We basically like chili's appetizers and nothing else. Namely, the spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken, and southwestern eggrolls. But I need my chicken drowned in the sauce. I did ask them to bring extra sauce to dip but they must've forgotten. So, craving was not really satisfied.

The funny thing is, I used to hate the "buffalo" flavour, too vinegary. But now I love it. Spicy, sour, salty, fried....... What more can you ask?


Vegetable jalfrezi, parathas(frozen) and curd rice.

for lunch I went to panera and had the broccoli cheddar soup and their iced caramel latte drink. mmm

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Cabbage Masoor Dal with panch phoron and Zucchini Pachadi

Hub brought home samosa AND doughnuts.
Should I hug him or hit him?

Worst Service Ever!!!

Tueday night we went to a new restaurant called Pho Viet. Its Vietnamese food, and the main highlight of such places is a soup called "pho". For some reason im really hooked on that stuff, its my latest food obsession. Ive eaten it at 4 places in 3 states so far.

Anyhoo, Im still in awe of how horrible the service was. My husband was angry but I think it was mostly just that they opened recently and have no idea how to run the business. Before you start thinking Im downing the service in asian restaurants(or before you start downing it yourself) I want to point out that the staff seemed to have no "accent" and this is in no way a cultural misunderstanding. But I digress....

We walk in at 7PM. Theres 3 tables occupied, and another 3 that are still full of dirty plates. I dont mind that, Im really not picky. We are seated with a smile, and when she asked for our order we werent ready yet, and she brought us water. When we were ready to order she was nowhere to be seen. Finally she came for the order, Im not sure what time, but at least 10-15 mins must have passed. She ran away from us(into the kitchen) in the middle of our order! But she did apologize. It was a young girl 18-20, who knew NOTHING about the menu(luckily they use numbers on the menu for ordering) and kept primping herself in the mirror behind our table while we gave the order. hmm. okay, I didnt mind that.

Two more tables are seated, one behind us, and one across from us with two people at each table. A looooong time passes. Its 7:40. They bring our appetizer. It is cold. I think it was supposed to be cold but I didnt know that. In any case, doesnt that mean it didnt take any time to COOK it? why was it 25 mins till she brought it out? Then she comes back to tell us one of the things we ordered, they are out of. THEN she comes back again, to ask us about the noodles we ordered, if we want them fried or steamed. WELL since we ordered "fried egg noodles", umm I guess we want them fried. I still was not bothered. Just thought shes a dippy girl.

An order finally comes out and I thought it must be ours. WRONG!! It was to the table behind us! Now Im wondering whats going on, but still Im patient. The manager/owner came over and said, Im sorry, I know your order should have come out first, but Im not able to find it anywhere in the kitchen. (WHAT?) I started to give our order again then I told her the waitress had come over to verify something a little while ago, so could she check with her about our order. She did that. But she didnt come back to let us know what was going on with it, or to reassure us at all. BAAAAAAAD business manners! In fact, whats worse, is she did come back to the table across from us but didnt even stop at us!

At this point I start to notice that everyone elses table has one of those small pots of tea, even the tables which had already left. Hmmm did they all order it or were we supposed to get one too? More on that later.

Our food comes out a little before 8. Let me add here that we ordered noodles, and a bowl of soup. The soup is almost considered like a fast food. Its something that should be out in about 10 minutes. I cant imagine the noodles were that difficult to prepare either. Well, we all know there was no excuse. What Im pretty sure happened is this: the girl forgot to give our order, or lost it. So when she realized she had done that, she tried to recollect from memory( and I suspect that happened at the time when she came out to tell us they were out of XYZ, which was about 20 mins after we placed our order).

Oh, it gets better and better! Im pretty sure what they brought was not the "fried egg noodles" we ordered, but vermicelli noodles! that explains why she asked if we want it fried or steamed. hmmm. They also didnt bring the plate of accoutrements which goes with my soup(lucky for me I have had this before and knew abt that!) so I had to ask for it. At least I got it. After that

She never came back. My husband had to get up from the table and go ask them for silverware. She never even refilled our water, not even one time!!!! To make matters worse, the manager woman, not only didnt come back to see if we were doing okay but she DID come to the table across from us about 5 times without saying a word to us or looking in our direction. Was this because she was embarrased at their faux pas, or did it have anything to do with the fact that the table across from us was Asian? Unfortunately for them, they dont realize my "pho" fetish. I (would have been) a repeat customer!

We had to get up and ask for our bill. She did tell us she was taking off 20% but that didnt matter as much as her actions, and anyway the food was inexpensive and I already had a coupon! The real clincher was the parting words. I asked her, because I had to know, was the tea complimentary? She replied it was.... I told her, nobody asked if we wanted tea and I would have liked to have some if I known. She said "OH THATS OKAY" as if I was apologizing for it. HUH?

But, it is okay. Live and learn, and hopefully they did learn something that day. I will probably give them another chance.

ho hum

Cooked chole and kohlrabi greens
Also had chicken philly sandwich at the mall.

Monday, sick again. Omelet and toast for hubby.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

My Wish List

So many things to buy, so little kitchen space.....

*3Qt crock pot

*A flat iron tava and a cast iron kadai with lid

*New stainless steel pressure cookers(1 large, 1 small)-good quality

*That little panasonic ice cream maker, when it goes back down to $10 (PLEASE!)

*This Calphalon 12 inch

*A pizzelle maker

*Sumeet mixie

*Set of ramekins

*Good quality knives

*Hibachi grill


*Marble mortar and pestle

*Mini cake moulds in cutesy shapes

*Pizza/bread stone

And I'm sure theres many more. But this is it for now :)

Friday- Take out again

Bhuna lamb and naan from Clay Oven. Little heavy on the cardamom, and the meat tasted old.

day off. Hubby was out all day, and I still have no appetite . just had cereal and potato chips.

Italian food- Thurs

Thought this would be a very easy dinner, since I still dont feel like cooking. Orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce and romano chicken. I used a jarred sauce though I REALLY dont like to. There are MUCH better ways to have pasta. Well, next time....


Still not feeling too well. Made cajun oven potatoes and raspberry "smoothie". Hubby picked up Quizno's sandwiches. Its not our favourite, but it's the closest take out food to our apt.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I wasnt feeling very well, and wanted to cook something that took very little effort. So with that in mind and my abundance of eggs, I found inspiration from This lovely blog. -scroll about midway down the page.

Its a fritatta.

In my version I used "crescent rolls" dough. In the bottom layer I put the leftover potato from the aloo paratha on sunday. Then I added to the eggs, chopped shallots, roasted red peppers, cilantro. Topped with tomato slices and feta cheese. Wish I had some basil....
Anyway, here it is. Not as pretty, but it was good.

What happened Betty Crocker??

On Sunday night I baked a cake...... yes from a box, for shame for shame!! (and last week it was brownies from the same source, so help me)

I dont know if the quality of the boxed cakes is getting worse, or its just the brand. I used Betty Crockers "triple chocolate fudge" cake and the "Whipped butter cream" frosting.

One thing is for sure : I will NEVER use the betty crocker "whipped" type frosting again. The texture was terrible and the flavour seemed really "off". The cake itself wasnt as good as I was expecting either. I think I might prefer "Duncan Hines".

The brownies were Ghirardelli...... mmm, thats better.

But, hey, if you want real recipes, I've got

Monday, December 12, 2005

Manic Monday

Well, ok, not that manic.....

But I wasnt really in the mood to cook, so I threw together a quick dinner of masoor dal with chowchow(chayote) and kadhi (yogurt gravy) with rice. It was alright. Not my favorite meal.

I enjoyed the salsa and chips that followed more.


On Sunday I bought a 2.5 dozen pack of eggs, because they were on sale at a price I couldnt pass up. So, what was for dinner???

Egg curry of course! with rice.

For some reason my egg curry never comes out very good, or I just dont like it much. Today it was not bad.

Now, I only need to think of something to do with the other 24 eggs!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

sunday lunch

Aloo Paratha and masala chai. Ahhh, nice lunch.


For brunch I made something like this French Toast Strata.
I thought it was okay, but hubby loved it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

OK, heres a recipe.... mushroom masala

-package of baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly
-1 large red onion- chopped
-1 large tomato- chopped
the spices you would use for cooking chicken...
-I put chicken masala, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala
-cumin seeds, sesame seeds
-pinch of hing
lime juice
coriander leaves

Put oil in pan and add cumin, sesame, hing. Then add the onion and fry it well. put ginger garlic and mushrooms. Add salt. The mushrooms will release water and shrink down a lot. When the mushrooms are almost cooked add spices and the tomato. It wont cook properly if u add the tomato first. Finish cooking (when tomatoes are mashed) and sprinkle with lime juice and coriander leaves.

I dont usually like mushrooms much, but I really like this one.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Paneer butter masala with capsicum (homemade paneer)
Mushroom masala (baby bellas)
Basmati rice
Paratha (frozen, storebought)

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Get your FRESH veggies!

One day recently, in my travels across the 'net, I accidentally stumbled upon a wonderful discovery....

It is called CSA- community supported agriculture. You can buy a yearly "share" of a local farms fresh produce, and every week, during the harvest seasons, you will get a basket of produce. You cannot get much fresher than that! I even like the idea of not knowing exactly what goodies will be in your basket each week- a nice little surprise!

Check it out: http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Now, if I could only find a source for that elusive Drumstick!!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sweet Tooth

No, I wasnt referring to myself.... though I do love those sweets.
But, for now, I meant my cat.

I have heard so many times that Cats are NOT ABLE to detect sweet flavours, but I simply cant believe that. My kitty, the orange one, is a sweet-a-holic! And its not just with one thing..... its anything sweet. When we are eating desserts, he can SMELL it from anywhere and come running. Hes a very strange cat. He also 'plays fetch'. But anyway.....

Today, I was having chocolate pudding with whipped cream(just a little! hehe) and of course, he comes running out of nowhere...... climbing around me, and trying to get at the bowl from different angles. Finally I took a little "cool whip" on my finger and put a dab right on the top of his nose. Not the tip, the top. So of course, he cant reach it, lol. But it was fun watching him try. At the same time, my little one(the kitten) comes around, so I dabbed the remaining on her nose. SHE DID NOT LIKE THAT. For a while afterwards she was angry at my hand and swatted me whenever my "fingers" went near her. Well, that was my amusement for the evening.


Black beans curry, roti/phulka, raita with cucumber+carrot, and leftover potato masala from yesterday.

I sometimes like to put a little chaat masala in the raita, and I mix my own.

Basically, I play around with the proportions of the following until it tastes good:

-hing... just a little
-amchur(powdered dry mango)
-red chili powder
-roasted cumin powder
-black salt

Its really good sprinkled on lots of things. Add a little on top of rajma, chole, or any bean dishes right before serving. Also, try it on watermelon or corn(on the cob)!


Dosa with potato masala and leftover sambhar.

Monday, December 05, 2005


We went out to lunch, unplanned, for pav bhaji at Hot Breads. Was pretty good.

Sambhar with radish, carrot, potato, brinjal. Cabbage poriyal. Rice.

Made lemon rice for hubbys lunch tommorow.


Well, ate out a lot this weekend, and I kinda felt bad about it.

For lunch sat, we went to an Indian buffet at a place we had tried out a while ago. Their "off the menu" food was quite good. The buffet was pretty disappointing. Oh well.

We ended up being out all day, so just grabbed mcdonalds for dinner.

Sunday, I made uttapam for lunch and we were out again, so went to Panera bread. Its one of our fav places. We love the hot panini sandwiches. And the broccoli cheddar soup, but I figured out how to make that at home now.

Friday, December 02, 2005


I grinded the idli batter yesterday and it was ready for tonight....
So, made idli, and vadai, and tomato-onion chutney.
Hub brought home 2 samosas too.
I'm stuffed.

Dosai Tips

Thought I would write down some things Ive learned over the years....

1. Using a cast iron pan really - enhances the flavour and crispiness.

2. Use whole skinned urad dal. It makes a difference. I dont know why.

3. The proportion matters, and everyone has their own theories on it. I personally use abt 1c urad dal to 3.5-4 cups of idli rice. If using split urad, I put 1:3. Then again, I use this same thing for idli. For just dosa you can have a higher proportion of rice.

4. Dont forget to add methi/fenugreek/vendayam seeds in the soaking dal.

5. Grind everything finely. (for idli, leave the rice very slightly grainy)

6. Grind with COLD, filtered water and dont let the dal get warmed during grinding. It will begin to "cook" and ruin the taste.

7. Mix with your hand. They say the yeast, or something, from your hand causes it to ferment better. I dont know if its true, but Im going with it anyway.

8. Try to incorporate air into it as you are mixing. Oops, thats for idli. Oh well.

9. Add kosher (or not iodized) salt if possible.

10. Fermentation is the key. If its warm outside, keep it out, covered of course for the day. It makes a huge difference.

11. I have, in cold weather, heated my oven to 200F, turned it off, and kept the idli batter inside to aid fermentation.
[Once, while making appam batter, I forgot to turn off the oven and got an almost cooked "appam cake" out of it! I should have let it finish cooking and tried eating it. But no, I just threw it away.]

12. I havent actually done this but a friend of mine adds moistened poha before cooking. Its good.

13. Make sure the consistency is right(should thinkly coat the back of a spoon) and the pan is hot.

14. Rub the pan with an oiled cloth or paper towel in between.

I really need a bigger kitchen

Yeah, I know I eat rice very often. At least I do use different varieties. Does that count for anything?

Its mostly basmati and ponni raw rice, but I also use sona masoori, and jeeragam sambu sometimes. (I have "idli rice" and rice flour too, but thats besides the point). I generally use basmati with north indian food, dal, biryani, and nonveg... the others, obviously, with south indian -strongly flavored stuff.

Ive noticed that different brands of each kind of rice can vary greatly. And I always forget which ones I liked/didnt like. I have a feeling "royal" was my fav basmati, but im not sure. The one we have now has practically no aroma :( I think its Falak brand. and the recent ponni rice I got is the worst. It reminds me of "american" rice. Ick. It was on sale, buy one get one free. Anyone have a brand they recommend?!

On another note, I also have too many kinds of cooking oil. Gingelly(sesame), some vegetable oil blend, e.v. olive oil, coconut oil, and a few scrapings of homemade ghee(have to make some more when I stop procrastinating). I think thats all, heh heh.

Ive noticed that, although I really like coconut and the scent of coconut, Im not too fond of the smell of cooking with coconut oil. I also theorize I wouldnt be too fond of Keralite food.- Dont hate me for that. I'd be MORE THAN HAPPY if you want to invite me to your house for dinner and help me change my mind!!!!

Well, I wont even get started on how many spices I have! Its ridiculous, believe me.
The strangest thing I have is something called "Katlu Batrisu Powder" from Mangal brand. It says on the box its a mixture of 32 traditional herbs used in preparing sweets like methipak and golpapdi. I dont know what those are. I tried looking up this stuff on the internet and didnt get much info either. If anyone knows what in the world I can make with this stuff please let me know!!!!!!

But how could I pass it up, really? It has 32 TRADTIONAL HERBS including satavali, salam, asrrio, white musli, piperingum, gokhru and other "herbal roots" for 99cents!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Does your blood type matter?

I was reading a while ago about Eating Right for your Blood Type . I dont think its something I could do though. Im not really strong-willed enough to go without that many foods. Here are the food lists.

I found it interesting that India has far fewer type "A"s and many more type "B"s than America does. I 'm A +. How about you??

There is also the theory that blood type reveals a lot about your personality . More on it.

Actually, I have personally found some of this stuff to be amazingly accurate in describing me!


Today I made Kootu with white pumpkin/ash gourd and Puli Kulambhu /tamarind curry with okra/bendekkai. And appalam(which is like papad).

I really love tamarind based things. Once I sucked on a piece of tamarind too long and my tongue BURNED for a while after that. I guess it was the acidity! dh told me, they say pregnant women crave tamarind, hehe. (No, I'm not!)

Kootu is a mild thick dal made with channa or moong and cooked along with watery vegs. Then grind coconut, green chilies, and cumin seeds- add that and the usual south indian "tarka".

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